NORWALK, Conn. – Attorney Emily Wilson won the endorsement of the local Republican delegates Wednesday night to run for the 142nd state Assembly District seat currently held by retiring Norwalker Larry Cafero.
The district includes the western and northern parts of Norwalk, and a portion of New Canaan.
Wilson, who is vice chairwoman of the Norwalk Zoning Commission and president of the Board of Directors for the Norwalk Senior Center, was chosen by a 4-2 vote over former Norwalk Board of Estimate and Taxation Chairman Fred Wilms.
“We must ease regulations to make it easier to open a business in Connecticut. We must reduce the tax burden on families and
businesses,” Wilson said in accepting the endorsement. “We must rein in the state’s rate of spending that has outpaced even the highest tax hike in Connecticut’s history, and we must finally eliminate the inequity of education funding. With determination, openness, and honesty, I am prepared to do everything I can to make Connecticut a place where we all can live, work and retire.”
Wilson won the support of delegates Peter Nolin, Carol Andreoli and William Dunne of Norwalk and James O’Hora of New Canaan. Norwalks’ Jack Chiaramonte and Peter Halladay voted for Wilms.
Nolin nominated Wilson for the endorsement.
“Emily is to be commended for her long public service with the Norwalk Senior Center,” said Nolin, vice chairman of the Norwalk Republican Town Committee. “She has also shown an ability and willingness to fight for our neighborhoods in years of work as the chair and vice chair of the Norwalk Zoning Commission. In every way she is well equipped to carry on the distinguished legacy of accomplishments that has been achieved by our long-serving State Representative Larry Cafero.”
Dunne was at the Norwalk Inn event as an alternate to assigned delegate Jim Feigenbaum, who could not attend.
“Emily has a calm demeanor that belies a quick and decisive mind,” he said in supporting the nomination. “There’s a certain member of the Zoning Commission who shall remain nameless here who would test the patience of Job. And I’ve watched Emily listen to endless rants and then deploy a kind of verbal jiu-jitsu that effectively neutralizes said commissioner without leaving any marks. She has a sharp mind that cuts to the core of the issue at hand, which will stand her in good stead amid the messy sausage-making in Hartford. She handles herself with a grace and aplomb that wins her points without bruising any egos. In Emily Wilson, I think the people of the 142nd House district will have an excellent representative in Hartford.”
Dunne recently announced he would challenge incumbent Democratic state Sen. Bob Duff for his seat and won his party’s endorsement as the lone Republican challenger.
Wilson, a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law, has practiced law in Norwalk for several years representing small businesses, the elderly and estates.
Wilson announced to the convention delegates that her campaign committee had reached the fundraising goals required to apply for a grant from the Connecticut Citizens’ Election Fund.
Wilson will carry the backing of the party into the race, but that does not mean she has a clear path to November. Wilms will continue his challenge, he said, and face off with his fellow Norwalk Republican in the Aug. 12 primary election.
“We achieved our objectives at this convention,” Wilms said. “With our votes, we have earned automatic placement on the primary ballot. Furthermore, we will automatically receive funding for the August primary from the Citizens Election Program. These funds will be in addition to the $28,000 for the November general election.
“Since three delegates had already committed to Emily Wilson last year, long before I entered the race, we knew we needed to plan beyond the convention” Wilms continued. “We are now free to bring our message directly to the voters.”
Wilms pointed to his fund-raising and support of popular district Republicans for reasons for optimism that he will win the August primary.
“Based on the enthusiastic reactions my campaign has received, I am very optimistic about winning both in August, and, more importantly, in November. We achieved our campaign finance thresholds one month ago in record time. We have received support from wide segments of the community. I am honored to be endorsed by both former Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia and New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi.
“I believe the primary will strengthen the Republican message and better position us to win in November. “
Wilson or Wilms will face Democrat Andy Garfunkel on the November ballot. The former 10-year Norwalk Town Clerk is the lone Democrat to enter the race for the seat held for 22 years by Cafero, who retires as House Minority Leader.
“I congratulate Emily on her nomination,” Garfunkel said in an email to Nancy OnNorwalk. “I look forward to a campaign on the issues as the voters of Norwalk and New Canaan seek to fill this seat with a fresh voice. Small businesses and residents alike need to know that the district will be able to create jobs, reinvigorate our aging infrastructure and position the state to move forward in the years ahead.”